October 10th, 2008
11:08 PM ET
10 years ago

A Buckley endorses Obama

Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, is backing Obama.

Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, is backing Obama.

(CNN) - No, hell has not frozen over, but a Buckley is backing a Democrat for president.

Christopher Buckley, the son of the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, said Friday he's decided to back Barack Obama's White House bid, the first time in his life he will vote Democrat.

“It’s a good thing my dear old mum and pup [sic] are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance," Buckley, a columnist for the conservative National Review, wrote on the Web site The Daily Beast Friday.

Buckley, who praised McCain in a New York Times Op-Ed earlier this year and defended the Arizona senator's conservative credentials against wary talk-radio hosts, said McCain is no longer the “real” and “unconventional” man he once admired.

"This campaign has changed John McCain," Buckley wrote. "It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget 'by the end of my first term.' Who, really, believes that?

"Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis," Buckley added. "His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?"

But Buckley made clear he's not just voting against McCain, praising Obama for his "first-class temperament and first-class intellect."

"Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy 'We are the people we have been waiting for' silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for," Buckley wrote.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (873 Responses)
  1. John

    Hello President Obama

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. David, Silver Spring, MD

    It just goes to show that the Republican Party, through years of incessant pandering, has finally fractured.

    Old fashioned conservatives, like Buckley, would rather accept ideological differences with an intelligent, thoughtful, concerned Democrat than accept a modern-day Know Nothing movement under the Republican banner.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Palin 2012

    Wow, welcome on board Sir

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  4. jwn in south carolina


    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. chad in avery ca.

    buckley is obviously one of the few repubs that has independent thought. good for him. im glad he is not scared to speak the truth.
    i hope more social conservitives are going to see the light.
    barack is right.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. L J Kess

    Mr. Buckley has apparently taken leave of his senses, if he can look at Osama Obama and see anything but a phony, a hypocrite, a closet socialist and a fake Christian. He should change his name to something more appropriate, e.g., Booker T Lenin.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Liz from NJ

    Though I m an Obama supporter, I always liked and respected McCain. No more. The McCain I respected is pre-Palin/McCain campaign 08. He sold his soul to the devil – made a Fuastian bargain.

    I feel sorry for the man. I believe he knows what he is becoming – a caricature of himself, and feels he is no longer in control of his own self image.

    It is a Shakespearean tragedy to watch a once honorable man going down the drain and ruining his low legacy due to the company he was forced to keep.

    But then again, he had a choice – his ambition got the better of the best part of him, and now he has to deal with not only the election defeat, but the ruined legacy of his life time work. He will now be remembered as an icon who incited the ugliest and basest elements of his party.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. Molly


    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. Sastry Pappu

    That is what right thinking people should do to really put the country first. Congratulations to Mr. Buckley.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Amy

    Sen. McCain,

    Will Buckley's endorsement of Obama bring you to your senses? We want a positive and honorable campaign. Neither one of those adjectives can be used to describe your current mudslinging.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. Finally...

    Sound judgment from a staunch conservative...well done!

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. pa.joe

    William F. Buckley would never endorse a ticket that included a intellectual midget like Sarah Palin. Neo-cons like Bush and Palin don't even know or understand the principals espoused by the great conservative scholars of the twentieth century. The McCain campaign would rather whip their supports to a frenzy with hateful lies and fear mongering then offer up thoughtful conservative approaches to the problems we face. I feel sorry for the true conservative, the Republicans have abandoned them.

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. patricia for Obama

    How wonderful that Mr. Buckley sees the truth abut Obama.

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Obama08

    thank you Buckley, you made me cheer up. I hope other repubs realize soon and save our country from another disaster. stop all fear tactics and come to the real world. Jesus said to be kind and love others not to hate. if you are a real christian then follow what Jesus said.

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. Allan

    Welcome, Mr. Buckley. We share a South Carolina heritage, and I am very pleased that you are honest enough to admit you were wrong. I was once an admirer of Sen. McCain myself, and thought he was one Republican I could have voted for. No longer. His honor went out the window quite a while ago.

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. Laura

    Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

    You explained best in your endorsement why I am supporting Obama. I am a true fiscal conservative. I do not trust McCain to do ANYTHING right in this country (especially with the insanity he has caused in recent days). I do however trust that Obama will surround himself with smart people and that he will actually listen to what they will say. By the time McCain is done, no one with any sense will want to be a part of his administration. I can't imagine who would want to be in his cabinet.

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. John

    Proves that there are republicans who still love this country and won't fall for a lousy namesake republican ticket thats good for nothing!

    October 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Turnabout is fair play

    Nuff said, if a BUCKLEY, one of the most conservative peoples in the Western hemisphere is endorsing Obama and not just because McCain is lame but because he believes in Obama? Then you KNOW Obama's the man for the job. Booyah!

    October 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. Charles

    And what's really crazy is that even though so many professional conservatives are calling for an end to McCain's antics, so many of his supporters are franticly asking him to attack even harder. They don't think he's attacking enough. Do they really even know what they're voting for? I don't want to believe race has anything to do with any of this but I've never seen people so plain angry that the candidate they don't support may win. It truly boggles my mind.

    October 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  20. Sean

    I salute you sir for your honesty, deep thinking, and independent judjment. God bless you! and welcome to the board!!

    October 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. anne

    McCain is a disgrace. I hope Mr Buckley doesn't get too much hate mail for this but since hate is all the people who back McCain really have at this point he will probably get lots of scary letters.

    Obama/Biden 08!

    October 10, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. dj

    this is God speaking the truth to the world and American people in irreputable truth.. God is good

    Obama 08 12

    October 10, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. John in KY

    Another one see's the writing on the wall!
    McCain/Palin (LOSERS)!

    October 10, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. Jackie Tanner

    What a maverick! Hear, hear...at last someone willing to admit the emperor has no clothes!

    October 10, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  25. A Thinker In Our Midst

    Obviously this man can think for himself and not allow partisan ideology prevent him from being rational. Obama, in my opinion will be a great president...........He is someone Americans can count on to think about all sides of issues before making decisions. We need someone like that in the Whitehouse (a thinker).............Why can't people see him for what he is and not allow McCain to villify his character.

    Thank you Mr. Buckley for opening up to America about your heartfelt opinion.

    October 10, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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